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Irene Hess (née Steinthal) * 1873
Richard-Dehmel-Straße 1 (Altona, Blankenese)
ermordet am 15.4.1943
Irene Bona Hess, née Steinthal, born 23 July 1873 in Berlin, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, date of death 15 Apr. 1943
Peter Hess, born 17 July 1908, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, 29 Jan. 1943 to Auschwitz, murdered there
Dr. Anton Moritz, a well-respected Jewish lawyer, was born in Berlin in 1867. He and his wife Irene, who was also a native of Berlin, moved to Hamburg-Eppendorf in 1904. Their four sons Heinrich (1905), Eduard (1906), Peter (1908), and Erich (1911) were born there, as was their daughter Estella Rosa (1913).
The family lived at Eppendorferbaum 5. As Heinrich later stated, it was his father’s "natural humility” that prevented him from buying a townhouse on Rotherbaum or in Harvestehude. According to Heinrich, the family was "assimilated, but still honored their Jewish heritage.” Heinrich attended the Johannaum secondary school, then studied law in Hamburg. After graduating, he was an attorney with the Hamburg courts, but his accreditation was revoked on 25 April 1933.
Anton Mortiz Hess died that same year. After his death, his widow Irene and her sons Heinrich and Peter moved in with Irene’s friend Ida Dehmel at Richard-Dehmel-Straße 1 in Blankenese. The family was increasingly persecuted under the Nazi measures. Eduard was able to emigrate to Santiago de Chile in 1935. The eldest son Heinrich, who had lived at Op’n Schierenholt 12 since 1936, knew that he too must leave the country. Since his wife Karen was Danish, they emigrated to Denmark in 1938, and then in October 1943 to Sweden. Erich, who was working as a store clerk, fled to Rio de Janeiro, and Estella Rosa escaped to England.
On 9 December 1938, a security order was placed on Irene Hess’ accounts. She was forced to pay a large sum for the Jewish Property Levy, and, like all Jews, had to turn in her jewelry and silver. She and her son Peter began planning to emigrate in 1939, either to England or Brazil. Medical bills from this time period show that Peter was very ill. Earlier he had worked at an office job, but his tax records indicate that he had been receiving a disability pension from the Reich Insurance program since 1929. This could be the reason that Irene and Peter never emigrated.
Lina Wolff, who worked as household help for Irene and Peter and lived with them, received her "evacuation orders,” and was deported to the Lodz Ghetto on 25 October 1941. Nine months later, on 19 July 1942, Irene and Peter Hess were deported to Theresienstadt. Irene’s bank account and assets were confiscated, and their belongings were auctioned off. Peter was sent to Auschwitz on 29 January 1943, and was murdered there. Irene Hess died on 15 April 1943 in Theresienstadt.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2018
© Rahel Kolditz und François von Menxel
Quellen: 1; 2 (R 1939/52 und F 1021); 4; StaH 332-7 Meldewesen, A 34/2 (Hausmeldekartei nach Straßennamen von Blankenese u. a. Stadtteilen westlich von Altona, 1927–1939, 1943); StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 2216 (Irene Hess); FZH/WdE 264, Hess, Heinrich; Morisse, Ausgrenzung, Bd. 1, S. 145; Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Hamburg (Hrsg.), Das Jüdische Hamburg, S. 54.
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